Need powerful search on your WordPress site? Here's our list of the best WordPress search plugins for simple & advanced search.
Approximate read-time: 6.5 minutes
Do you need a search plugin for your WordPress website? The default search functionality of WordPress isn't the greatest. If you have an online store, for example, you may need a more powerful search system.
When choosing a search plugin, it kind of depends on your goals. For example, do you want to provide a search bar to your users on the front-end of your site? Or do you want to create a searchable database in the back-end?
In our list of the best WordPress search plugins, we'll show you plugins that cover a range of needs. These plugins also have the support of a large community. That means compatibility with WordPress themes and other plugins as well.
Without further ado, let's jump into our list of the best search bar plugins for WordPress sites!
1. Search & Filter
🥇 Best WordPress search and filter plugin
Search & Filter claims to be a "simple search and filtering plugin for WordPress" But it's actually quite advanced! The beauty of this plugin is that it's only as complex as you want it to be. And it really does have the best mix of everything you'd want in a search plugin.
By default, you can search by category, tag, custom taxonomy, post type, date or combine these variables together for advanced search. Searches can be expanded to include custom fields, post meta, authors, post types, dates, taxonomies, tags, and categories... almost everything!
Search & Filter also has a range of search field options and JQuery tools like sliders, date pickets, auto-complete, and multi-select. Load them into the drag and drop editor and you'll be searching in no time.
Users are also able to reorder search results (filter) based on whatever variables you allow. When your search bar is ready, you can place it anywhere on your site using shortcodes and widgets. Best of all, the plugin supports AJAX for super-fast search.
If you aren't sure how you want to use advanced search features on your site, Search & Filter is a great plugin to start with. Give it a try!
2. Formidable Forms
🏅 Best database search plugin for WordPress
Formidable Forms isn't a dedicated search plugin per se, it's a form builder. But that doesn't mean you can't build advanced search modules with it.
Before we get into front-end search, let's talk about the database search features Formidable has. If you want to collect data that is searchable, filterable, sortable, and exportable from the back-end of your site, Formidable is your friend.
Formidable has developed a back-end UI that makes navigating your data a breeze. You can sort columns, search fields independently or together, and filter what fields and datasets you want to work with.
All the back-end stuff is great, but what about an advanced search for users on your site? For that, creating custom search forms with Formidable is very powerful as well. Formidable allows you to improve the standard WordPress search with customizable forms and filters.
For example, you don't need to rely on a single search field. You can let users search with whatever parameters you choose. And by the way, you can easily create a search widget with Formidable (peaceable anywhere on your site).
And if you want to take things a step further, you can use the powerful Formidable Views feature. Views allow you to take whatever data you want and display it based on your conditions.
That means you can create search and filter forms + results pages completely tailor-made to the needs of your audience. With a little configuration, you can outclass ever the best search filter plugins for WordPress.
3. AJAX Search Lite
🏅 Best AJAX search plugin for WordPress
Ajax Search Lite is a live search plugin for WordPress. For those who don't know, AJAX is a powerful engine that allows data to be loaded without the need to reload the entire page. This is sometimes called "live search" because the results update as the text in the search bar is changed.
Not all AJAX search plugins are created equal. AJAX Search Lite gives users a clean look, responsive design, and a much-improved search function than the default search by WordPress.
Like other plugins on this list, you'll find advanced search features. For example, search in posts and pages, custom post types like WooCommerce Products, Events, Portfolio items, and a lot more.
And if you need more power, well hold onto your hats! Ajax Search Pro takes things up a notch, adding real-time search, script search, and more speed and accuracy to boot.
4. Ivory Search – WordPress Search Plugin
🏅 Best advanced search plugin for WordPress
Ivory Search calls itself a "simple to use advanced WordPress search plugin". And we concur! The only downside to this plugin is that the UI is slightly less approachable than others on this list. Having said that, it's still very well done and has extremely advanced features.
There are no limits either. Users can create an unlimited number of search forms and configure each search form individually. You can display custom search forms anywhere on your site: in the header, footer, sidebar, widget area, navigation menu, pages, posts, or custom post types.
And if the above list isn't enough, you can place your search form anywhere on your site using shortcodes. Ivory search also supports AJAX search (live search), includes a search form customizer (to design forms to match your site), and a lot more.
5. AJAX Search for WooCommerce
🏅 Best product search plugin for WordPress
Ajax Search for WooCommerce is "the most popular WooCommerce product search plugin". If you judge by the number of installs and 5-star reviews, that's very true.
This is an AJAX search plugin with a spin towards WooCommerce, the ever-popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Think of AJAX in terms of "live product search suggestions". It should go without saying, but the live suggestions are great for online stores.
By default, WooCommerce provides a search feature. But as with other WooCommerce features (WooCommerce forms, for example), it comes up a little bit short. The default search doesn't include instant suggestions as you type, for starters.
Add to that specific search filters for searching by SKU, by product title, description, and more. Search results include images, prices, and all the other relevant data you'd expect from an eCommerce-ready search bar.
6. Relevanssi – A Better Search
🏅 Best free search plugin for WordPress
Relevanssi is a long-standing search plugin for WordPress. With many of the best WordPress search plugins, you'll need to get the pro version to really see the power. Not so with Relevanssi.
That doesn't mean that there isn't a Relevanssi Premium, which allows users many more customization options (especially when it comes to design and user experience).
As for the free features, there's a lot here. The true power of this search plugin is how it revolutionizes the default WordPress search. It doesn't just extend it - it makes it work better than you'd expect.
With other plugins, you may need to spend a lot of time configuring how the search engine delivers results. With Relvannssi, the results are just relevant! This is achieved by using fuzzy matching, searching exact phrases using "quotes", single word match, and phrase match search.
Another user-friendly feature: Google-style “Did you mean?” suggestions. These are built-up based on successful user searches on your site. How's that for a handy autocomplete!
🏅 Best search WordPress plugin (premium)
SearchWP is yet another great option among the best search WordPress plugins. We gave this one the honor of best premium plugin because of the way it addresses the major issues with the default search function of WordPress.
For starters, SearchWP makes Custom Fields searchable in the easiest way possible. Check a few boxes and you are on your way. It works with the most popular custom field plugins too: Advanced Custom Fields, Meta Box, Toolset, Pods, and more.
This great plugin also gives you the power to search for products too. Plus, it integrates with WooCommerce and BigCommerce, among other eCommerce plugins.
If you have a lot of documents hosted on your site, you'll love that SearchWP can search your documents: PDF, Office, plain & rich text, and others. After you upload files to the WordPress Media library, you can make that content searchable.
You can customize everything too, all the way down to the search icon. You can customize results based on specific search terms too.
We hope you've found a plugin from the above list! There's one more honorable mention to let you know about before we go. If you are a user of the Advanced Custom Fields plugin, then you might want to check out ACF: Better Search.
We wish you luck in your search! Thanks for stopping by today.